Monday, March 26, 2007

Vanquished Forests

Recently “Kompas” a local newspaper revealed that Indonesia had the dubious honour of being the number one nation in de-forestation for 2006. This was quickly followed by the news on the weekend that Indonesia is now number three in the world as a major contributor to CO2 emissions behind the United States and China.

The number 3 rating is much undeserved and should be protested. With correct score weightings, Indonesia should have easily achieved the number one rating in both divisions. It should be noted that in both China’s and the United States, there are at least payoffs to the nation’s populace with increased access to power and in most cases an increase in the standard of living (albeit at someone’s expense).

In the case of Indonesia, the increased CO2 emissions are not due to the production of electricity or services to the public. Rather the CO2 is a direct result of uncontrolled burning off, deforestation and peat burning. All of which line the pockets of the chosen few at the expense of the rest of the population. This way everybody loses.

Last week I had the opportunity to see for myself the devastation to the forests wrought by the chosen few. Thought we would take a long drive and see the much abused tropical forest before it was all gone!.. Bugger me, if the forest didn’t drive right past us (see picture)

My Indonesian comrade was moved to say “I hate these guys”! Apparently ever since the supposed clamp down on illegal logging, all they have done is change their methods. Instead of huge mills in the jungle, they employ poor local villagers to operate small, portable mills and have them deliver the logs to the side of the road. These small two or three men operations disappear every time there is word of a Police raid (sadly, the raids always received plenty of advance warning).

Once on the road, the logs are picked up by trucks picking up timber, like bemos (bus) on a passenger run.

Asking the obvious “What about the trucks? Don’t they get stopped by the Police”? With an obvious pity for my poor grasp of the situation, my comrade just rubbed his thumb and forefinger together.

Poor Fella, My Country

Still on the conservation front, the lamest interview this year goes to the spokesman for Nuclear Power in Indonesia (whose name is forgettable as is his grasp of the issues, but see last weekend’s Jakarta Post it you want to send a dill a card).

After several column inches of vague assurances and dubious science, his finishing statement was essentially, “Don’t Worry, even if there was an accident, the government would pay compensation”..??????????????????????

I wonder what the formulae are for compensation for radio active fallout which lasts hundreds of years! About the same for mudflows, I am guessing.

No comments: